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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘intelligence’

Can NATO Member Turkey Ever Be Trusted Again?

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The Jewish Press has had the dubious honor of pointing the finger at Turkey’s chief intelligence officer Hakan Fidan and state flatly that his betrayal of 10 Mossad agents was the stuff that should get him something nice in his car in the morning. Yes, we don’t go for nice over here, but, as you’ll see, the rest of the world is coming around rather quickly to our position, and so, if I’m Hakan Fidan, I’d get me a bus pass.

An Eli Lake article in the Daily Beast has confirmations from U.S. officials of the David Ignatius initial Washington Post report. A CIA officer compared the loss to the betrayal of the Cambridge Five the network of Soviet moles (including the notorious Kim Philby), who provided invaluable intelligence to Moscow during the Cold War.

Danny Yatom, a former chief of Israel’s Mossad, told the Beast: “The fact those ten spies were burned by the Turks by purposely informing the Iranians is not only a despicable act, it is an act that brings the Turkish intelligence organization to a position where I assume no one will ever trust it again.”

Yatom said the Mossad has traditionally informed its Turkish counterparts about meetings with its spies on Turkish soil. He said if Turkey gave Iran any details about these meetings, it would compromise Israel’s intelligence operations against Iran.

Indeed, in April, 2012, the Tehran Times announced: “Iran has foiled Israeli terrorist plots.”

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday announcing that it recently foiled several Israeli terrorist plots.

The statement was issued to provide more details about recent operations by Iranian intelligence forces that led to the arrest of 15 Mossad-linked spies and terrorists.

On April 10 [2012], the Intelligence Ministry announced that key members of an Israeli terrorist network had been identified and arrested in Iran.

Presumably, the blood of those 15 agents is on Hakan Fidan’s hands.

Omri Ceren, of The Israel Project, wrote today: “Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that if the story is true, then Turkey’s intel chief Hakan Fidan was just ‘doing his job’ by ‘not letting other intelligence agencies operate in Turkey.’ That might be surprising to Turkey’s NATO allies, not to mention any country that does counterterror work with Ankara.”

And that is a problem well beyond the anger and betrayal anyone in the Mossad might be feeling today. Turkey has the largest army of all the European NATO members and it plays a central role in the alliance. Which means that if you’re a senior security official in any of NATO’s member countries, you’ll start reviewing your exchanges with the Turks. Remember, Turkey serves as a passageway not only for spies going into Iran, but also for terrorists coming out of Iran. If you can’t now trust the Turks to monitor that traffic reliably; if, in fact, you have to worry about them actually aiding and abetting those terrorists – what do you do?

This is far from being an Israel-only problem. I mentioned in an earlier article the similarity between Hakan Fidan’s despicable act and those Afghan soldiers who shoot their American fellows on patrol. If Turkey does not find a meaningful way of convincing its NATO allies that it is trustworthy—it could bring on a sea change in Turkey’s already eroding relationship with the West.

Is Erdoğan’s Turkey turning its back on its European aspirations, in search of a safe and familiar role as the Muslim world’s eternal second fiddle?

Al Qaeda Quickly Constructing Main Mideast Base in Syria

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Al Qaeda is quickly constructing its main regional Middle East base in Syria, from where it plans to export terrorism and Islamic radicalism to neighboring states, then to the West, a new report released by an Israeli security research institute warned.

The jihadis later aspire, according to the report, to turn “Greater Syria” — an old geographic term encompassing Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories — into an Islamic caliphate.

The exhaustive study took a year to compile, according to researchers at the Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which released it.

The Center itself is a part of the Israeli Intelligence and Heritage Commemoration Center, founded in the 1980s by leading members of the Israeli intelligence community.

The report identified the Al Nusra Front as Al Qaeda’s official arm in Syria; they added that the organization is quickly entrenching itself in the north and east of Syria, where the Assad regime’s rule has collapsed.

According to Dr. Reuven Erlich, the head of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the Al Nusra Front is entrenching itself in Syria at a rate several times faster than the time it took Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to become a serious international terrorist presence.

Erlich, who served in several posts in IDF Military Intelligence, also cautioned that Syria’s location in the heart of the Middle East, its proximity to Europe, and its border with Israel mean that geopolitically, the jihadi threat from Syria is more central than the one from Afghanistan or Pakistan.

He compared Al Nusra’s activities in Syria today to the incubation period of a virus, before it begins spreading and infecting other hosts. Later, Erlich warned, the plague of jihad will spread outwards from Syria to the region, then go on to threaten global security.

The researchers who composed the report assessed the chances of Al Nusra realizing its goal of building a caliphate as low, due to Syria’s diverse sectarian, ethnic, and religious population, and strong tradition of secular Arab nationalism.

Nevertheless, they said, the group is on course to become one of the most prominent rebel entities, and will play a key role in shaping a post-Assad Syria, while using its growing presence as a springboard to launch international terrorist attacks.

At the moment, Al Nusra’s most urgent goal is toppling President Assad; its members are therefore not yet focusing on enforcing Shari’a law in Syria. They show a pragmatic willingness to work with other rebel organizations, including the main Free Syrian Army. But once the Assad regime falls, a violent campaign by jihadis might begin to cement their control over any new government formed by rebels in Damascus.

A second jihadi organization operates in Syria, the researchers said, called the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, formed by Al-Qaeda in Iraq, though Al Nusra is the only one to have received official recognition by Al Qaeda’s central leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, in June this year.

“The two branches together have an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 operatives in our assessment, and the number is growing,” the report stated.

Erlich said the influence of the group is out of proportion to its numbers, due its operational capabilities and influence on the population.

The Al Nusra Front is led Abu Muhammad al-Julani, who possibly hails from the Syrian Golan, and rules over a network of fighters and local subordinates in Syria’s districts.

He is a veteran of jihadist battles against US forces in Iraq, and a former follower of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who set up Al Qaeda in Iraq in the previous decade.

Rank and file members of the group are a mix of Syrians and foreign volunteers from the Arab and Muslim world, the report said, adding that foreign volunteers number in the thousands. Additionally, between 500 and 600 European Muslim volunteers are in the organization, mainly hailing from the UK and France. They are expected, after returning from the battlefields, to spread jihad in their home countries, the report said.

The Al Nusra Front’s most senior body is called the Consulting Council of Jihad Fighters. Its leadership is made up of staff dealing with military operations, fundraising, weapons acquisitions and smuggling, religious affairs and public relations. Fighting units are usually called battalions or companies.

The report mapped out the Al Nusra Front’s presence in Syria, noting that it was strongest in the north and east, where the Assad regime has collapsed. In these areas, called “liberated zones” by the jihadis, Al Nusra and affiliated groups provide public services, maintain health, legal, and policing systems, and distribute food, clothing and blankets.

In some places, residents have complained about a strict code of Shari’a-based conduct being enforced.

According to the report, the group is weakest on the Mediterranean coast, where the minority Alawite population — of which the ruling Assad regime is mostly composed — is located.

Most of Al Nusra’s attacks are focused on greater Damascus and on northern and eastern Syria, in places such as Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Idlib and Deir al-Zor. Its actions are guerrilla-terrorist campaigns against the regime’s bases, facilities and individuals.

Tactics include suicide car bombings, roadside bombs, suicide bombers on foot, and firing on bases and airfields with light arms and mortars. Security checkpoints are a frequent target.

“Suicide bombings are a signature brand” of Al Nusra and are operationally effective, but have resulted in negative public relations among other Syrian rebels, said the report.

The Al Nusra Front plans to attack Israel from the Syrian Golan, according to an assessment that appeared in the report. It “can be expected to establish an operative terrorist infrastructure in the Golan Heights, a continuation of military infrastructure it is currently constructing in Deraa,” the southwestern city where the anti-Assad uprising began in 2011.

“In our assessment, Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist organizations may integrate themselves into terrorist attacks from the Golan Heights despite the fundamental ideological differences between them,” it added.

Al Nusra can also be expected to link up with fellow jihadis who follow Al Qaeda’s ideology in neighboring Lebanon, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Gaza Strip.

Pro-Western Arab states are on the target list too, the report said, adding that Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, all of which support the rebels, might be targeted by Al Nusra in the form of subversive, radical Islamists entering them and setting up terrorist cells.

In northern Syria, Al Nusra and its allies have seized key national resources such as oil and gas fields, oil pipelines, dams, power plants and grain silos.

These sites are now operated by jihadis, who sometimes sell oil and gas to the Assad regime for profit, enabling the organization to pay its operatives a monthly salary, purchase more weapons, and run assistance programs in “liberated areas.”

As Al Nusra fighters raid Syrian weapons depots, the fear remains, the report stated, that “in the absence of the considerations of restraint that influence other terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah and the Palestinian terrorist organizations,” they could obtain chemical and biological weapons, and use them in terrorist attacks.

Snowden Leak: NSA Gave Israel Data on US Citizens

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

The National Security Agency provides raw data to Israeli intelligence services, according to a secret document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

A memorandum of understanding between the NSA and the Israeli Signals Intelligence Unit (ISNU), leaked by Edward Snowden to the London Guardian, states that the NSA will provide data to the ISNU without first reviewing the documents to remove sensitive information.

The process of removing U.S. residents’ personal information is called “minimization.” According to the report, the information provided to Israeli intelligence could include phone and email records of U.S. citizens.

The leaked document states that the information “includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence (DNI) metadata and content.”

Poll: Americans Not Eager to Attack Syria

Monday, August 26th, 2013

While some lawmakers, including Sen. Bob Corker, republican of Tennessee, senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are pressuring President Barack Obama to take military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, Americans are not excited about the prospect of a new war.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Aug. 19-23 and released Sunday, about 60 percent of Americans said Obama shouldn’t intervene in Syria’s civil war, while only 9 percent favored action.

More Americans would support U.S. intervention if the use of chemical weapons were to be confirmed, with 25 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed. But an Aug. 13 Reuters/|Ipsos poll asked the same question and got responses of 30.2 percent in support of intervention to 41.6 opposed.

U.S. military assets in the region are being intensified, but no decisions were announced after an emergency White House meeting that included Vice President Joe Biden and top defense, intelligence and diplomatic officials.

Alerts Came after US Intercepted Al Qaeda Conference Call

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al Qaeda’s senior leaders and representatives of several of the group’s affiliates throughout the region, the Daily Beast reports.

U.S. intelligence was afforded a rare glimpse into the communication between al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and the organization’s affiliates in Africa, the Middle East, and southwest and southeast Asia.

The Daily Beast has learned that the discussion between the two al Qaeda leaders happened in a conference call that included more than 20 al Qaeda operatives.

The Al Qaeda members included representatives or leaders from Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Uzbekistan branch and al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.

“This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom,” one U.S. intelligence officer told The Daily Beast.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “This may punch a sizable hole in the theory that al Qaeda is on the run.”

“The core seems to be able to able to reconstitute itself. The core also seems to be able to coordinate and manage the affiliates,” the senator added. “There was a gross underestimation by this administration of al Qaeda’s overall ability to replenish itself.”

Female IDF Officer Upgrades Diet & Exercise

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Speaking at the International Women’s Conference sponsored by Stand With Us, IDF Officer Lieutenant Colonel Shirly Subul, a resident of Tel Aviv, said she had the aspiration to serve Israel in the armed forces since age 4. She currently serves in the IDF combat fitness department, where she has personally transformed the Lifestyle Branch, which is responsible for army athletics and encouraging Israeli soldiers to live a healthy life-style, into one of the most influential branches in the IDF.

She was a professional athlete as a teenager but put her athletic dreams on hold in order to serve the State of Israel. In March of 1993 she served in the intelligence unit and continued on to officers training course. Later on she served in the foreign relations department of the intelligence department. During the Second Lebanon War, Lt. Subul’s best friend Anat was murdered in a suicide bombing and she spent five weeks in an underground bunker as the head of the operations division. Her army career took a different direction when she transferred to the combat fitness department. There Lieutenant Colonel Subul sought to combine her passion for serving Israel with her love of athletics and sports.   

Lieutenant Colonel Subul places special emphasis on IDF commanders, believing that their physical condition has a great effect on the army as a whole. Subul is also known for whipping high ranking officers into better shape and has even put obese Israeli commanders on a six month program of diet combined with exercise. In order to keep Israeli soldiers in shape, she has organized four marathons and is planning a fifth. Subul also organizes swimming and bicycling sessions and has special programs for women.

Subul also has a BA in gender studies and sociology from Tel-Aviv University and was a pioneer in this field. As a female IDF officer, Lieutenant Colonel Subul emphasized that women serving in the IDF enjoy full gender equality, stating that 92 percent of the positions within the IDF are open to women, nearly 59 percent of Israeli women enlist to serve, representing 33 percent of the IDF’s manpower, and that the number of female IDF officers continues to rise. Israel is the only country in the world to have mandatory military service for women. “There are so many opportunities for women in the Israeli Defense Forces,” she claimed. Israeli women can be found in the artillery corps, armored divisions, infantry and intelligence units.

Visit United with Israel.

Global Security Alert after Al-Qaeda Prison Escapes

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

The international police organization Interpol has issued a global security alert, urging increased vigilance for terrorist activity, following a suspected al-Qaeda connection to prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, among others, AP reported.

Interpol says the prison escapes have taken place in nine Interpol member countries over the past month. The organization is requesting its 190 member countries’ assistance in figuring out whether such events are indeed linked.

The full statement from Interpol’s alert reads:

Following a series of prison escapes across nine INTERPOL member countries in the past month alone, including in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters has issued a global security alert advising increased vigilance.

With suspected Al Qaeda involvement in several of the breakouts which led to the escape of hundreds of terrorists and other criminals, the INTERPOL alert requests the Organization’s 190 member countries’ assistance in order to determine whether any of these recent events are coordinated or linked.

INTERPOL is asking its member countries to closely follow and swiftly process any information linked to these events and the escaped prisoners. They are also requested to alert the relevant member country and INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters if any escaped terrorist is located or intelligence developed which could help prevent another terrorist attack.

Staff at INTERPOL’s 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre and other specialized units are also prioritizing all information and intelligence in relation to the breakouts or terrorist plots in order to immediately inform relevant member countries of any updates.

August is the anniversary of violent terrorist incidents in Mumbai, India and Gluboky, Russia as well as in Jakarta, Indonesia. This week also marks the 15th anniversary of the US Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in which more than 200 mostly African citizens were killed and 4,000 others injured.

In recent years, terrorist attacks focusing on diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan, Greece, India, Kenya, Libya, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey and Yemen have also resulted in hundreds of casualties of all nationalities.

The US State Department has also issued a global travel alert in response to credible intelligence suggesting that Al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks between now and 31 August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to the US authorities announcing the one-day closure of more than 20 diplomatic missions on Sunday 4 August, the UK Foreign Office has also confirmed the closure of the British embassy in Yemen on 4 and 5 August.

Syria Moved Missiles Before Israeli Strike

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Not putting all their eggs in one basket, Syria moved a number of their anti-ship cruise missiles before Israel allegedly destroyed their storage area in a July 5 attack, according to a report in the NY Times.

The report says that some of the Russian Yakhont missiles were removed from their launchers and the warehouse before the strike.

American intelligence reports that immediately following the strike Syrian president Assad set fire to vehicles and launchers to make it look as if more missiles were destroyed than actually were.

Both Israel and the US consider the missiles to be a serious threat to their ships in the region.

Russia recently also shipped SA-26 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, along with technical experts.

In both January and May of this year, Israel hit other Syrian missile systems that they believed were headed for Hezbollah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/syria-moved-missiles-before-israeli-strike/2013/08/01/

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